So the story of Metal Gear Solid V involves fire monsters, child soldiers, a deadly virus, and some justification for why the only female character spends all her time naked. The gameplay, on the other hand, involves more wonderfully ridiculous bullshit than you can shake a stick at. And I'm really good at shaking sticks.
#4. I Invaded An Enemy Base Just By Dropping Boxes On People's Heads
Not to brag, but I've been killing people in video games since I was 8 years old. Sending a digital man screaming into oblivion just doesn't hold the thrill that it used to. For a while I was worried that this meant I was dead inside, but Metal Gear Solid V showed me that even though I can no longer get a boner from digital murder, I could still get some blood flow down there if I just embarrassed the hell out of people.
When you request a Supply Drop, a helicopter flies by and drops a big, heavy box of ammunition and balloons. Even though the box is attached to a parachute, it still hits the ground pretty hard. I found myself wondering what would happen if I dropped one of those boxes on a guard. Turns out it knocks them unconscious.
The best part of a game isn't the problems it gives you to solve -- it's the different ways it lets you solve them. Metal Gear Solid V isn't a great game because it's fulfilling some unquenched yearning to murder soviet soldiers in Afghanistan; it's a great game because I can knock that soldier out 17 different, highly inefficient ways. Then I can tie a balloon to his ankles and float him into fucking space.
Or however it is that a Fulton Recovery System works.
Oh, so nothing like in this game at all.
Every mission in Metal Gear Solid V is like the setup to a punchline that I get to tell with a rocket launcher, a bottle of wolf-bait, a bag full of magic balloons, and an endless bag of empty magazines. And speaking of endless empty magazines ...
#3. I Toyed With All My Soldiers' Emotions, And It Was Great
After you knock out an enemy soldier in Afghanistan or Africa, you can tie a balloon to their ankle and float them up into the sky to be "extracted" by a helicopter. Then they are taught to love and fear you, Big Boss, with such devotion that you can do anything to them. Anything at all. But instead of abusing this authority I'd been given, I decided to try to make my Mother Base more of a wacky, prank-filled adventure town. It's good to keep my soldiers on their toes, both for training purposes and to make sure that Mother Base is a fun and unpredictable working environment:
Or by trying to bounce an empty magazine off one of their heads and on to someone else's head. They tolerate it endlessly, because I have made sure that they love me. They love me endlessly.
Not to spoil the video, but I succeeded. I succeeded at getting two heads in a row.
I know it seems like giving gamers any quantum of authority immediately turns them into psychotic tyrants, but that's an oversimplification. A lot of gamers will spend hours cultivating the perfect community in SimCity or treat their Pokemon battle-pets with more attentive kindness than they do their own family and significant others. It's easy for us to treat our video game friends respectfully if you provide some kind of consequence for abuse. If there are no consequences, however, then yeah -- we become tyrants. Metal Gear Solid V doesn't give me any consequences for being a psychotic asshole, provided I'm a psychotic asshole to the men in my brainwashed slave-army.
Then I decided to actually start playing this game for real. And I did that for exactly 35 minutes before I realized that ...